Invest in people, not prisons

Act Now

The people of Vermont support criminal justice reform, and four in five want to reduce our overreliance on prisons by investing in community-based alternatives.

Policymakers have responded and have reduced our prison population by about 40 percent from its peak over a decade ago. Still, there is much more we need to do to ensure our communities have the resources they need and that prisons are used only as a last resort.

A proposal under consideration in the state legislature would jeopardize that progress, drastically expanding Vermont's prison system at enormous costs to individuals and taxpayers, while ignoring the opportunity we have to advance thoughtful, evidence-driven reforms to reduce our overreliance on prisons.

The proposal to replace and expand the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF) is expected to cost at least $71 million – though the administration's own estimates suggest that number could be much higher – and additional prison construction could cost taxpayers more than $500 million over the next decade.

The legislature should reject this plan and focus on advancing evidence-driven policy reforms and funding investments that enable our communities to thrive – and take action to improve the conditions facing incarcerated people today.

Contact your state senator(s) and representative(s) today and urge them to reject the administration's proposal to expand Vermont's prison system.

Message Recipients:
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Your Message
Use the form to send a message to your legislator.

I am writing to ask you to reject the prison construction proposal within the 2024-2025 Capital Bill. There are many things we can do to improve the lives of people living in Vermont's prisons today. Before spending $15.5 million in taxpayer dollars to make a down payment on massive new prison construction - a project that is expected to cost at least $71 million, and likely far more - we should know what lower-cost, community-based alternatives are available, and how evidenced-based policy proposals could further reduce Vermont's overreliance on prisons.

This proposal comes at a time when our communities are calling for critical public investments, such as addressing extreme housing in security, the opioid epidemic, mental health needs, and so much more - all of which would directly mitigate root causes of crime and incarceration in our state.

Vermont has achieved a 40 percent reduction in the state prison population. As we plan for the future of Vermont's criminal legal system, we should build on this progress - not undermine it.

We must prioritize investments in people, not prisons. Thank you for your time.


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